UK - Other taxes and levies

UK - Other taxes and levies

Taxation of international executives

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Social security tax

Are there social security/social insurance taxes in the United Kingdom? If so, what are the rates for employers and employees?

Employer and employee

Unless exempted by a reciprocal agreement or under the EEA rules, Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (“NICs”) are payable by both the employer and employee in respect of an employee working in the United Kingdom. The contributions are not deductible from compensation for income tax purposes. There is no ceiling in respect of employee or employer contributions. Class 1 NIC is payable by employers at 13.8 percent on total compensation over the earnings threshold (GBP156 per week for the 2016/17 tax year). Class 1A NIC (at the same rate) is paid by the employer only on most payments/benefits in-kind, such as rent, car, school fees, and so on. The benefit subject to Class 1A National Insurance is as computed for tax purposes. 

Type of insurance Paid by employer Paid by employee Total
National insurance contributions 13.8% 12.0%* 25.8%
Total 13.8% 12.0% 25.8%

* For 2016/17, employee NIC is payable at a rate of 12 percent on total compensation over the Primary Threshold of GBP155 per week up to the Upper Earnings Limit (“UEL”) of GBP827 per week. A further liability at the rate of 2 percent arises on all earnings above GBP827 per week.

The United Kingdom has concluded a number of social security treaties, which usually provide for limited periods of exemption from NIC (the U.S. treaty provides for a five-year exemption period if certain conditions are met) on the basis that contributions continue to be paid in the home country.

A secondee working in the United Kingdom from another EEA Member State might be covered by European Council regulations which, in prescribed circumstances, will exempt him/her from NIC, provided contributions continue to be paid in the home country.

If no treaty or EEA arrangements apply, a foreign national employed by an overseas employer and sent to the United Kingdom on a secondment will usually be entitled to a one-year exemption from NIC. The employer will also be exempt from NIC during this period.  For a U.K. national employed in the U.K. and assigned to work overseas will usually continue to be liable for NIC for 52 weeks after departure.  The employer will have a corresponding liability.

Gift, wealth, estate, and/or inheritance tax

Are there any gift, wealth, estate, and/or inheritance taxes in the United Kingdom? 

There is no wealth tax in the United Kingdom.

Inheritance tax is a capital tax, charged on assets passing on death, gifts made to most trusts throughout the donor’s lifetime and on gifts made to individuals within seven years prior to death. Transfers between husband and wife (if they are both UK domiciled) are generally not chargeable, and various other relief and exemptions are available.

For an individual who is domiciled in the United Kingdom (whether U.K. resident or not), worldwide assets have to be taken into account. For a non-domiciled individual, only U.K. situated assets are subject to inheritance tax. An important point for an individual planning to stay in the United Kingdom for an extended or indefinite period is that from 6 April 2017 a non-U.K. domiciled individual who has been resident in the U.K. for 15 out of the previous 20 years will be deemed to be U.K. domiciled and therefore potentially liable to inheritance tax, not only on U.K. assets but also on assets situated outside the United Kingdom.

Inheritance tax is payable only if the cumulative total of chargeable transfers exceeds the statutory limit for the tax year. This is currently set as GBP325,000. There is an additional nil-rate band when a residence is passed on death to a direct descendant. The current inheritance tax rate is 40 percent. For lifetime gifts to most trusts, if the value given up is over the statutory limit, an immediate inheritance tax charge of 20 percent arises on that excess value at the time of the transfer, with up to a further 20 percent chargeable if the donor dies within seven years.

As with other taxes, double tax relief may be available if assets are chargeable to inheritance tax in the United Kingdom and to a similar tax in another country.

Real estate tax

Are there real estate taxes in the United Kingdom? 

The sale or other transfer of real estate within the UK is subject to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) at rates up to 12 percent (15 percent if not held personally). If the asset transferred is valued up to 125,000 GBP for residential property, or 150,000 GBP for non-residential property, no SDLT is due, subject to certain conditions. In Scotland SDLT does not apply instead a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax applies.

This is a fairly complex subject, and specific advice should be sought about any particular situation being considered.

Sales/VAT tax

Are there sales and/or value-added taxes in the United Kingdom?  

The United Kingdom imposes value-added tax (“VAT”). The system is administered by HMRC. VAT is a tax on consumer expenditure. Businesses (where they are VAT registered and fully taxable) do not bear the final costs of VAT. They are able to charge VAT on the supplies that they make (output VAT) and recover VAT on purchases that they have made (input VAT).

There are currently three rates of VAT - standard rate (20 percent, which is charged on the provision of most goods and services), zero rate (0 percent, which is charged on items such as food, books and children’s clothing), and reduced rate (5 percent, which is charged on fuel amongst others). Attributable input VAT is recoverable on these supplies by businesses.

Some goods and services may be exempt from VAT. Examples of exempt supplies include the provision of health and welfare, finance and land. No VAT is chargeable on exempt supplies. Businesses that make exempt supplies cannot reclaim input VAT.

Where a body makes both exempt and taxable supplies, it is regarded as partially exempt. There are methods that these kinds of businesses must use in order to establish the proportion of input tax incurred which they can recover.

Unemployment tax

Are there unemployment taxes in the United Kingdom? 

There is no unemployment tax in the United Kingdom.

Other taxes

Are there additional taxes in the United Kingdom that may be relevant to the general assignee? For example, customs tax, excise tax, stamp tax, and so on.

Local taxes

The only local tax for individuals is council tax and it is based on the value of an individual’s home. The charge varies from district to district. A similar tax applies to secondary residences and is paid by the tenant or the owner-occupier.

Stamp taxes

Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (“SDRT”) is payable when an interest / option / right in stocks and shares in UK companies or foreign companies with a UK share register are purchased in an electronic ‘paperless’ transaction. This is usually collected automatically and billed to the purchaser by their brokers. If the individual does not use a broker, they must ensure that HMRC are notified of the purchase and the SDRT paid by the appropriate deadline.

SDRT is charged at 0.5 percent of the actual consideration paid for the securities, rounded to the nearest penny.

If an individual purchases the securities by paper (usually applicable for private companies), Stamp Duty is payable. Again, the purchaser is responsible for notifying HMRC of the transaction and paying the Stamp Duty. Where consideration has been paid, Company Secretaries are not permitted to update the company share register unless they receive a stock transfer form “stamped” by HMRC to confirm the duty has been paid.

Stamp Duty is payable by the purchaser and is chargeable at 0.5 percent of the actual consideration paid for the shares., rounded down to the nearest GBP5. 

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a United Kingdom legal liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

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